Aztec Military

As the Aztecs grew in number, so did Aztec military. But still Aztec knew that they couldn’t be the most powerful if they didn’t team up with other groups and tribes in the area. By forming alliances with the other groups they eventually created an empire that extended from Central Mexico to the Guatemalan border.

The Role Of Religion In Aztec Military

The Aztec people’s military power was due in part to their belief in warfare as a religious duty as opposed to war being just their duty. They really took warfare as a serious business not just so they could expand their empire but also to capture prisoners that would be then offered to their gods and goddesses as religious sacrifice.

These victims or prisoners would be used for less important rituals, since for a major ritual a warrior would volunteer himself to be sacrificed since it would be the ultimate honor for a warrior to be slain in battle or to volunteer one’s self in a major ritual. As for the prisoners, they would be forced to ascend the steps of a pyramid then religious leaders or priests would stretch their limbs across a convex stone and then rip their heart out with a terribly sharp knife.

The Battles And Wars Of Aztec Army

For a fight to commence between two armies, loud shouting and pounding of drums would be heard first. The Aztec warriors would dress up in costumes meant to scare the enemy away. Jaguar costumes or eagle costumes were just some of the costumes that the fierce warriors wore to battle. Costumes also represented the special status that these warrior had.

Capturing Prisoners

Despite being one of the fiercest people around, there were always just a few casualties resulting from the war. Main goal of the Aztec military was to capture as much prisoners as they can. They didn’t kill their enemies on the battlefield, instead, they would strike at the opponent’s legs so that they can be easily captured and taken as a prisoner.

So in short, they didn’t kill to save their lives on the battlefield, but they did kill after the battle. Many historians have mixed reviews regarding this but, according to the Aztecs - it is the same with European wars, it just so happens that they killed after the war and not during the battle.

A human sacrifice was a part of their lives so they didn’t have any qualms whether or not they sacrificed someone of their own blood or beliefs or an entire stranger altogether.

Aztec Military Training

The Aztecs were a fierce lot because ever since babyhood, a child was treated as a future warrior. If a baby boy was born, they would cut the umbilical cord, leave it to dry, and then buried on a battle field. This would simply show that when that boy grows up, he will dedicate his life to war and train to be a good warrior. That is how dedicated they were to warfare.

All boys would be trained to fight, so they could be a part of the Aztec military force. A rite of passage for young boys was capturing their first prisoner. That would signify that they entered manhood.